John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


The Secret Weapon for driving revenue | Price or Experience Wars | Full Disclosure

“Changing the World by Creating a Customer Service Revolution…

CUSTOMER SERVICE, THE SECRET WEAPON FOR DRIVING REVENUE
– Companies spend millions creating and advertising their brands, yet the customer’s experience is what drives customer perception. A recent study reaffirmed what every customer knows, but too many leaders continue to bury their head in the sand and ignore what research shows: that a great experience not only influences where they chose to buy, but also…

  • 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company as a result of a negative experience
  • 55% became the customer of a company because of their reputation for great customer service
  • 40% began purchasing from a competitive brand simply because of their reputation for great customer service
  • 85% of consumers said they would be willing to pay more over the standard price in order to ensure a superior customer experience

Are you competing on price or the experience?  Consumers aren’t only demonstrating power with their wallets, but they are influencing those around them as well. Whether consumers have a positive or negative experience, their friends, family, colleagues and networks are sure to hear about it; and what they are saying carries weight. The top three factors why consumers recommend a company:

  • 55% because of its customer service
  • 49% because of the product
  • 42% because of price

Read the entire report Customer Experience Report North America 2010 – RightNow

Full Disclosure – I have been getting more and more impatient with businesses’ lack of respect for my time. I hate to be kept waiting. Recently I went to a local diner with my family for Sunday breakfast, and upon arrival the hostess warned us saying, “I apologize. We are so busy today, our kitchen is really backed up. It may take a while before you get served.”  We all responded with something along the lines of, “We are in no rush.”  The waitress eventually got us our drinks, our order and kept stopping by during our wait to refresh our drinks and apologize for the long wait. Each time we kept reassuring her that we understood. The food finally arrived and we left happy.

What was funny was afterward, when I thought about the length of time between order and delivery of the food, it was significant. However, with her being upfront and apologetic, none of us were even the slightest bit upset. It is like when you see an employee nametag that says “In Training” underneath the name. You automatically feel for this person, are more patient, understanding, and sympathetic. You want to help them out so they do not feel so overwhelmed.  Disclosing the inevitable service defect upfront is a powerful tool to getting your customers to be more understanding and patient. It is when they are not told about the delay or why or how much longer that people feel taken advantage of and are less forgiving.

Exercise of the week – A few weeks ago I shared the FORD exercise, which measures your employees’ customer intelligence.  Another great exercise is the FORD exercise for your management team, asking them to fill in the following FORD on each of their employees. How well do they know the people that report to them on a daily basis?   This will demonstrate how well they retain employee intelligence:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dreams

Quote of the week

 

“We are not for everyone, nor do we want to be. We are for the 1% who want to

emerge as the best of the best and are not afraid to work hard and challenge themselves

 to see how much greatness they actually have inside.”

Receive a “Johnism” of the Day – join me on http://twitter.com/johndijulius

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. Learn more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.

Comments Off on The Secret Weapon for driving revenue | Price or Experience Wars | Full Disclosure


Five Below puts their employees in the shoes of the customer: take the C-SAT: Policy is Bad: forget about the eye-rollers
May 4, 2011, 5:00 am
Filed under: Customer Experience, Customer Service, John DiJulius | Tags:
“Making price irrelevant…”

Five BelowLife in the day of a Five Below customer – The two most obvious things that World-Class service organizations do differently than all other companies are 1) understand that Service Aptitude is not a common trait, and organizations must train for it and certify it; and 2) constantly put employees in the shoes of their customers. I just worked with one of the coolest and fastest growing retailers in the U.S. called Five Below, a trendy, value retailer for teens and pre-teens, currently have 146 locations throughout the U.S.  After hearing me speak, one of their store managers went back and created a simple poster for display in the employee area to help their workers better empathize with what is on the customer’s plate.

No More Policy – Policy is a bad word. Customers hate hearing the words, “our policy is…” and even worse, employees love to use it as a crutch. I recently had a situation with one of my own good managers of John Robert’s Spa, who couldn’t understand why we would “make exceptions” to our policy. For example: ever so rarely, someone will ask for a refund on a gift card or bring back open makeup. Somewhere our policy states we do not do either. However, we have made exceptions, which upset employees who are trying to protect the company by adhering to our policies.  So to make things much simpler, we removed the term policy as it relates to customer service, and now call it “guidelines.”  We ask our employees to use their best judgment, and if exceptions are made, it’s okay.  Now, I know the first thing some of you are thinking is, “If you do for one, you are going have to do for everyone?” When we make an exception and return a gift card or make up, we do not then get a flood of people returning these items. It is so infrequent, and no one has yet gone out and broadcasted on the internet that John Robert’s will give you cash for gift cards.  Training your employees to have high Service Aptitude means they believe in the best of others and do not punish 98% of customer’s for what 2% might do.

If you can’t change the people, change the people – Too many times, when trying to introduce a new system that will help companies improve their customer experience, management stalls because of the resistance they perceive they will get from 10% of what I like to call “eye-rollers.”  Eye-rollers are employees who are cynical and find it hard to buy into anything.  Do not let the eye-rollers prevent you from taking your company to a new level.  Some of the 10% will get on board; the majority will weed themselves out.

Resource of the Week – Do you know your company’s Customer Service level? The DiJulius Group has created an incredibly powerful tool called the Company Service Aptitude Test (C-SAT).  The C-SAT lets management know where the strengths and opportunities are in order to get to the next level.

World-Class Law Firm – If you heard me speak, read my book What’s the Secret? {link to the book] or attended the 2009 Secret Service Summit than you know that Carter Mario Law Firm, out of Connecticut, is the Zappos of professional service firms. A long time client of The DiJulius Group, Carter Mario himself was one of our most popular speakers at our 2009 Secret Service Summit and his law firm was the recipient of the 2009 Secret Service Award. They were featured in the Hartford Courant for continuing to raise the bar for client experience [read entire article].

Quote of the Week

“Money doesn’t produce passion, passion produces money”

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. John DiJulius is the innovator of a methodology called Secret Service a customer service system which consistently enables organizations to deliver World-Class Customer Experiences. Find out more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, the #1 National Customer Service Conference.



IT ISN’T THEIR FAULT, THEY DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER!

I have this niece who is 20, and I have been bugging her for years to come work for me. I’ll even send her to beauty school! She is one of those bright, bubbly cute girls who lights up a room. She has a great personality and any business would love her working for them at the front lines as a receptionist, hostess, or any customer contact position.

ImageI got to see her over the holidays and asked her what she was doing. She said she has been working for a while at a Café and enjoys it.  I asked her what it was like and what her responsibilities were. As she explained them, one of the jobs the owner has given her was to make sure people who are not paying customers do not use the bathrooms.  My eyes lit up. I said, “Really?” She replied, “Yes, we even have a sign on the door that says so. Just today I saw someone who wasn’t buying anything headed to the restroom, so I ran after him and made him leave.  My owner says if they can’t pay for things, they don’t get to take advantage of our facilities because he then has to pay me to go in and clean up after them.”

I was shocked! This is my sweet adorable niece with the same family DNA. How could she think like this?  You are probably thinking how wrong I am about my niece, and that I shouldn’t want an employee like that.

Well, for starters, each of us has plenty of employees currently working for us, and I would love for her to work for me– with the proper customer service training, of course.  Her mindset is not unusual. It is more the norm.

It all goes back to Service Aptitude. No one is born with it; it is not innate. People’s Service Aptitude comes from two primary places: 1) life experiences and 2) previous work experiences.  Think about that. That’s it! No one is born with high service aptitude.  Most life experiences before the age of 25 don’t afford the know-how of what world-class service looks like.  And considering that nearly 80% of businesses out there are Average at best at customer service, that means employees have previously worked elsewhere. Not only were they not trained on what excellent service looks like, but they were poisoned with a policy-driven iron fist that teaches them that customers are out to take advantage of businesses and must be caught and stopped.

We all agree that the experiential side (how our customers are treated and cared for) is just as important as the technical/operational side of what the customer receives. However, our training contradicts that. We would never think of having an accountant, lawyer, nurse, doctor, hairdresser, or technician perform work without the proper technical training, certification, and licensing. Yet most companies have little to zero customer service certification.  To my knowledge there is no degree or even a college course that prepare our youth.

Action Plan

Don’t be discouraged.  This is the majority of our workforce. Keep reminding yourself that it is not their fault; it is our responsibility as an organization and as leaders to improve their Service Aptitude to a level that is acceptable before we allow them to interact with our customers. Make sure you re-evaluate what your soft-skill service training looks like, how well your existing and new employees know and understand your Service Vision, and how they impact it.  Be sure they know your Customer Bill of Rights, your Always & Nevers, the Secret Service Systems, what your service recovery protocols are, how they can easily go Above & Beyond, and that they have the permission and autonomy.

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. John DiJulius is the innovator of a methodology called Secret Service a customer service system which consistently enables organizations to deliver World-Class Customer Experiences. Find out more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, the #1 National Customer Service Conference.




%d bloggers like this: